Arcbishop Kristofor Kisi

Arcbishop Christopher was the primate of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania from 1937 to 1948. Year in which he was obligated by the Albanian régime to leave his place as a primate.

On June 17, 1958, he was found unconscious in the church of St. Procopius but was taken to the Tirana Hospital still alive.  My father, Dr. Spiro Buda, a general practitioner, who was his nephew, but also his student at the Orthodox Seminary of Tirana, told me that the first aid was denied to Arcbishop Kristofor Kisi. No room was granted to him, he found him dead in the hospital hall. The death of Kisi  remained a mystery. He was probably poisoned.

Klara Buda
Arcbishop Kristofor Kisi, the primate of Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania (1937 – 1948). As courtesy of Dr. Spiro Buda

Figures persecuted by Albanian regime.

Arcbishop Kristofor Kisi was born in the Kala neighborhood of Berat in 1881. In 1908 he was graduated in theology in the Orthodox Seminary of Halki*. He spooke seven languages fluently French, English, Italian, German, Greek, Turkish and obviously Albanian. Curiously for an archbishop, he was a chemistry passionate.

Arcbishop Christopher was the primate of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania from 1937 to 1948.

He was obligated by the Albanian régime to leave his place as a primate, which was taken by communist regime faithful, Pais Vodica**.

Career & death mystery

In 1958 he was found dead by poison in communist regime in Albania. Arcbishop Kristofor Kisi “(Christopher) was the lats primate of Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania (1937 – 1948).

Before the beginning of the First Balkan War, he returned to Constantinople and in 1916 he
resigned bishop of Markiqoj, a post he held until 1923. The same year, saw the efforts of the Albanian Orthodox for autocephaly, returned voluntarily to Albania, where he took over the leadership of the Metropolitan of Berat. November 21, 1923, together with Timothy Jeroteun ordained Monsignor Noli in the episcopal rank, in the Church of St. George in Korça. In 1929 he retired to the monastery. Five years later 1934 Elected Metropolitan of Korça, and on April 12, 1937 President of the Holy Synod and Archbishop of all Albania.

During World World War II Kisi “backed up” the initiative of Italy and the Vatican (subsequently aborted) to unite the Orthodox Church with the Uniate Church. Kisi and the OACA high hierarchy, in contrast to the stand of many Orthodox clergy and laity, were supportive to the anti-communist resistance movement after World World War II and had previously welcomed the decision from German authorities of extending the jurisdiction of Albanian church to the Diocese of Prizren and newly created bishoprics of Peshkopia and Struga.

In 1942 he was called by Victor’s viceroy Emmanuel III, Jakomon, who asked him to hand over bishops in vacant positions units. To avoid the appointment of Unite bishops, he summoned theologian Irine Banushi and asked him to surrender to the episcopal rank. Forced by internal pressures, on August 25, 1948 he was forced to resign. His place as a primate was taken in 1948 by Pais Vodica, a faithful Communist Government called also Father  Pashko, biologic father of Josif Pashko. He was interned the same month. He died under suspicious circumstances.

On June 17, 1958, he was found unconscious in the church of St. Procopius but was taken to the Tirana Hospital still alive.  My father, Dr. Spiro Buda, a general practitioner, who was his nephew, but also his student at the Orthodox Seminary of Tirana, told me that the first aid was denied to Arcbishop Kristofor Kisi and he passed away the same day. My father told me that no room was granted to him, he found him dead in the hospital hall.

The death of Kisi remained a mystery.

*The Halki seminary, formally the Theological School of Halki, a private higher education was founded on 1 October 1844 on the island of Halki, the second-largest of the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara. It was the main school of theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church’s Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople until the Turkish parliament enacted a law banning private higher education institutions in 1971.

**The faithful Communist Government Pais Vodica (Father Pashko) was the biologic father of Josif Pashko a communist leader.